Seattle Opera Young Artists Program Celebrates Verdi in 2012/13
Seattle Opera welcomes the seven artists selected for the 2012/13 season of its Young Artists Program-a season given in celebration of the Verdi bicentennial.
"The world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi's birth in 2013," says Brian Garman, Music Director of the Young Artists Program. "Rarely has a composer been able to spin out melodies as skillfully as Verdi. Rarely too has a composer understood the theater as well, or possessed such a passion for the dramatic elements of opera. And no other composer has so fully understood the possibilities of the human voice. The Seattle Opera Young Artists Program is thrilled to dedicate the majority of its upcoming season to performing his music."
Returning to the program, now in its fifteenth year of training promising young performers for a career in opera, are mezzo soprano Sarah Larsen, from Roseville, MN, and pianist Christopher Lade, from Santa Monica, CA. New this season are baritone Hunter Enoch of Paris, TN; tenor Theo Lebow of Brooklyn, NY; mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel of Havelock, NC; soprano Dana Pundt of Liberty City, TX, and bass-baritone Matthew Scollin of Walled Lake, MI.
The Young Artists Program (YAP) offers a curriculum that includes public performances in YAP productions and concerts as well as select mainstage roles. Last season, while a Young Artist, Larsen made her Seattle Opera mainstage debut as Mercédès in Carmen and also sang a critically-acclaimed Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. This season, in addition to her YAP roles, she will sing Tisbe in La Cenerentola and the First Tourière in Suor Angelica on Seattle Opera's mainstage. This month's production of Beethoven's Fidelio will feature Young Artists Lebow and Scollin (First and Second Prisoners). In the spring, Nansteel and Pundt will sing the roles of the Nursing Sister and Suor Genovieffa, respectively, inSuor Angelica.
The Young Artists will also bring opera to communities around Washington state with their fall tour of Giuseppe Verdi's early comedy, King for a Day (Un giorno di regno). Never before produced by Seattle Opera, King for a Day is the story of a wily rogue who has been roped into impersonating a king. Compelled to serve as the guest of honor at a double wedding, he adopts the role of matchmaker, provokes a duel, confounds an arranged marriage, and in the end facilitates the triumph of true love-including his own. Directed by YAP Artistic Director Peter Kazaras and with musical preparation overseen by YAP Music Director Brian Garman, this production of King for a Day will visit Moses Lake (October 26),Ellensburg (October 28), Bellingham (November 1), Tri-Cities (November 4), and Walla Walla (November 8), before returning to Seattle for a one-night final performance at Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall on November 17. Tickets for the Seattle performance are $25 and can be purchased at seattleopera.org/tickets. Tickets for the fall tour performances can be purchased through each individual venue; venue information can be found at seattleopera.org/yap.
Next spring the Young Artists will end their season with a one-night-only concert, with orchestra and chorus, celebrating this great composer: "Viva Verdi!" on April 6, 2013, at University of Washington's Meany Hall. The Young Artists, joined by the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program Orchestra and the Seattle Opera Chorus, will perform selections and scenes from beloved Verdi operas. Special highlights of the evening include the Overture to La forza del destino, "Va, pensiero" from Nabucco, and the first act of La traviata. Lead sponsor of "Viva Verdi!" is the Seattle Opera Guild.